I was recently diagnosed with dysphagia. What does that mean?
Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing. Often people complain that food “gets stuck” in the throat or that they cough and choke when eating and this leads to a diagnosis of dysphagia. It may also be exhibited by weight loss, feeling tired, failure to thrive, pneumonia, congestion, or even an increase in saliva in the mouth. Swallowing is a complex process that involves over 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves. Food is moved from the mouth to the stomach in three stages. In the first stage, food is prepared for swallowing as it is moved around the mouth by the tongue. The second stage begins when the tongue pushes food or liquid to the back of the mouth. The third stage begins when food or liquid enters the esophagus and begins its journey to the stomach. Dysphagia can occur in any of these three stages.